About me

I am a law student born and raised in Finland. I am 23 years old and during the past few years of my life I’ve gone through a major change, especially during my recent 3-month stay in Tanzania (fall 2010) and my year as an exchange student in Québec, Canada (2008-2009). I’ve become more aware of the importance of caring about other people and the earth. I’ve realized the importance of leading an environmental friendly life and I’ve also come to feel this urge to help people who aren’t as fortunate as myself.

One of my favorite things to do is to travel. And I’ve traveled quite a lot. I’ve lived in Québec for 10 months, I’ve spent a few months in South America (Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay), I’ve lived in Tanzania for 3 months, I’ve been to China, the US, Greece, Turkey, Switzerland, Hungary, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Estonia, Norway… And I can tell you right now – I hate guided tours and touristic places where all the shop sellers know how to say “hello” and “thank you” in your own language (be it Swedish, Finnish or any other language). When I travel I want to experience something authentic, something real. Some of the best travel memories I have are 1) spending some days with the people living in the slums outside Arusha, Tanzania, playing with the kids, talking to the people there and helping them to carry water from a mountain river to their “houses”, 2) visiting a town in Southern Peru that had been damaged by an earth quake (people were amazingly friendly there, and no other blond people in sight ;)) and 2) helping an NGO to distribute breakfast to children in the slum in the outskirts of Lima. It might not sound like a dream vacation to many (sleeping on a broken bed, living without electricity or running water), but for me seeing all this is worth more than any amount of weeks on a sunbed by a pool.

I have many dreams and goals. For my own part I can mention pursuing a master’s in Human Rights, going for a long backpacker trip in South-East Asia, visiting my sponsor child in Sri Lanka and doing volunteer work in Africa. I have dreams concerning the whole humanity as well. These dreams concern people realizing that over-consumption is not only unnecessary, it is downright dangerous to our planet. My dreams also concern more people helping out people in need.

How I help. Whenever I travel I give away money to street beggars or to charity. I love that you can find these charity boxes where you can dispose your last foreign exchange in most airports nowadays. I give away coins, and even bills, to every street musician, street beggar and street performer I meet when I travel. Obviously, I don’t give away money to drunks or drug addicts, and sure, you can never be entirely sure what the money will be used for. But you know they really appreciate it. I can recall giving away larger bills on a few occasions, and the look in their eyes is something you will never forget – you really know you’ve made their day (or week, or even month). Even though I am a student, living on the “brink of bankruptcy” myself ;), I can still manage to give away some money each month or whenever I see a street beggar. I can live on soup and porridge for a while (in fact, fewer expensive semi-manufactured articles will probably just do me good) – or even borrow some money. These. People. Do. Not. Have. That. Option. They need all the money they can get just to survive. So I’m happy to “share the wealth”.

Well, whenever I travel and stop on the street to give away money I’ve noticed something about the people I’ve traveled with – be they fellow students, friends etc. Not one of them does the same thing. They all stop and look at me like “aha, you’re giving away money, that’s an idea!” (or look at me as if I were crazy) but not one does the same thing. This is what I want to change. Everybody’s able to help out a fellow human being. It does not have to be monetary support. A group of very close friends of mine in Tanzania once told me that they appreciated me because I was so kind to them. They told me most Western people avoid them, or look down on them, so to them the most valuable gift I could give them was being their friend. I want to make other people realize that they can make a difference in someone else’s life. I want to make people realize that they too can make someone else’s day. They can. If they want to.

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